Cut Quill

Alecks and Viscilli
By Jesse Rimshas

Seledom in an academic setting does one find a story truly necessary: one which needs to be added to a library. “Alecks and Viscilli” is one of those few. It was written as a Creative Writing class project at Pensacloa Christian College by Jesse Rimshas.
Story © Jesse Rimshas

One winter’s night Alecksandre Andraeyavich sat at his desk writing a letter to his mother in Petersburg. He heard heavy footsteps on the stairs outside and paused to listen when Slava burst in, panting. “Alecks ! I’ve just come from the Red Guards — they’re coming for you Alecks! You have to run!”

Alecks felt that his heart would leap from his chest. “What? Why — why would they come for me?”

“There’s no time Alecks! — You must run!”

“But, where do I run Slava? Where?”

“North, to the mountains! Here, take my coat — it’s warmer. Don’t look back! Now go!”

Alecks threw on his jacket, flung open the door and ran out of his apartment and down the stairs. There was no time to think! How could he get to the mountains? He saw a yellow car coming down the street — a taxi! If he could just make it inside —

“Hey, you! Halt!” It was one of them! He ran past the taxi and crossed the street. He saw an alley to his left — he took it. There was a high wooden fence at the end. He jumped up, grabbed the top, and was pulling himself over when someone yanked on his leg and he fell to the ground. He jumped up and turned on his pursuer, ready to defend himself.

“Viscilli!” Alecks said as he felt a wave of relief. It was only his old friend Viscilli inside the red and gray uniform.

“Alecks!” Viscilli seemed to hesitate. “You . . . you shouldn’t have run, Alecks.” He stepped back a few paces. “You should never have run.”

“Viscilli! You scared me to death!” Alecks said, still panting. “I didn’t know . . . it was you! What have I done? Whatever . . . I know you [and] me can work it out.”

Viscilli was staring down at the patch of dirt in front of him as he slowly shook his head, then swallowed hard. He then set his jaw, lifted his head and made his shoulders square, staring coolly into his newfound enemy’s eyes. Alecks’s heart stopped; his childhood friend was gone, and a soldier stood in his place.

Viscilli smoothly, mechanically unbuttoned his holster, pulled out his handgun and lifted it level with Alecks’s face, so that he could see into the barrel. “I only follow orders, Alecks.”

Alecks fought to keep down a new surge of panic. His eyes darted around, desperately looking for any means of escape, some gap, some weapon! There was none. Maybe if he ran, maybe his old comrade would have mercy enough to let him pass, to give him that chance! But as he looked back into those cold, steel blue eyes, he realized he was a dead man. He looked stared into the black, rifled barrel, closed his eyes and prayed, shivering. Somehow he found the strength to look up as he said, “Not in the face, Viscilli.”

Alecksandre Adrayovich fell dead in the alley with a bullet through his chest.

“I’m sorry, old friend.” Viscilli holstered his gun, turned on his heel and walked away.